Betting on English League Cup Football
The EFL Cup, often referred to after its sponsors name, which in 2019 is Carabao, is the 'second' domestic knockout competition in English football. Regarded by all to be inferior in importance to the FA Cup, the League Cup still offers a rare chance for clubs to actually lift a trophy, and as the English game has become more and more dominated by just a select handful of clubs, perhaps progress League Cup has even grown in priority among teams of a certain amount of resouces, although the reality is that many teams use the competition to rest players, more of which later.
Unlike the FA Cup, the EFL Cup is only open to teams within the four English 'professional' divisions of the Premier League, Championship, League 1 and League 2. Premier League teams only enter the competition in Round 2, while those clubs involved in European club competitions only enter from Round 3. Also unlike the FA Cup, the semi-finals in the League Cup are two legged, and are played home and away between the two teams facing off.
EFL Cup winner betting odds at the start of any given season will usually lean towards the normal big boys' club of the top six teams in the Premier League, but not quite as dramatically as in other competitions, as the bigger teams do not tend to take this competition as seriously as some of the others available. Much criticism has been levelled at coaches over recent years for this practice, but it is hard to argue against when teams are playing so many matches in such a short space of time, and the fact that squads have become bigger than ever. However, it is vital that this is taken into consideration when reflecting on English League Cup odds.
EFL Cup Football Odds
The English League Cup is a popular event to bet on for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is the competition that is played out to its denouement first in the football calendar, with the semi-finals and final taking place early in the new year while the FA Cup is only just kicking off for Premier League and Championship teams. Secondly, because of the League Cup's standing as the least important of all the domestic competitions involving Premier League teams, these sides often tend to play those players who are on the fringes of the first team, in order to protect their star men from injuries, and to give those peripheral figures a chance to stake their claim. Therefore, although a team such as Manchester City would still be heavy favourites against most teams, a team from the middle of the Premier League might fancy their chances in the context of the team that Manchester City might put out. This is only an example, of course, but the League Cup odds do tend to reflect this fact, although keeping a firm eye on team sheets and teams' interests in other competitions is really useful.
Once again, due to the fact the competition is a knockout, it's hard to look deeply into the statistics and find any real correlation. Matches do not go to replays, so must be played out until penalties on each night of the game, so that is worth bearing in mind, while shocks are quite frequent, for the very reasons as already discussed.
EFL Cup Odds for 2019-20
In 2018/19, quite incredibly, Manchester City won the first domestic treble in the history of English football. Manchester United won a treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1999, but that team failed to clinch the League Cup. Manchester City's achievement is incredible for two reasons. First, because quite clearly it is a difficult thing to achieve. Second, because it really does focus on the reasons why it has never been achieved before, when perhaps it could and should have been.
The truth, and this is supported by EFL Cup odds, is that the biggest clubs in England really do not value the League Cup as highly as they might, due to fixture congestion. Taking nothing away from any team who wins the League Cup, the fact is it is not as difficult to win as the FA Cup (in the last 30 years, 15 different clubs have won the League Cup, while only 9 have won the FA Cup), and certainly nowhere near the achievement it would be to claim the Premier League trophy (only 8 teams in that same 30-year period). For these reasons, the betting takes on an interesting focus. However, Manchester City's victory was, at the same time, proof that the best sides in England still desire to win this trophy, so this leads to some interesting matches and odds coming up over the course of the 2019/20 season and beyond.
So, unsurprisingly according to the bookmakers, Manchester City are short-odds favourites to win the League Cup in 2019/20, closely flowed by Liverpool and then all the other teams collectively known as the 'Big 6' (Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal). Yet the rest of the Premier League teams don't follow too far behind, as they absolutely do both in FA Cup and Premier League betting – Everton, Wolves, West Ham and Leicester City are all perhaps a good shout due to their desire to win a trophy, but the unlikelihood of their challenging in the bigger competitions.
English League Cup Football History
The English League Cup has been in operation for a much shorter period of time than the FA Cup – England's 'second' cup competition only began back in 1961, and for the first 6 tournaments featured a two-legged final played at the teams' home grounds. Since then the final moved to Wembley, where it has stayed pretty much since. Like the FA Cup, the League Cup also doesn't feature replays anymore, with penalties now being used to decide the winner.
The same teams who have claimed the most victories in the FA Cup share out the most League Cups in general, although Arsenal have incredibly only won the competition twice in their history, losing out in the final on 6 occasions. Liverpool have the most wins on 8, while Manchester City, the side that have dominated in recent years, have 6 – including 4 of the last 6. It would be unsurprising to see these two teams sit at favourites when checking out English Cup winners odds at the start of this, or any particular season.